Give a woman a fish, she’ll eat for a day. Comment on a woman’s fanpost, and she’ll come back and write another one. Isn't that how the saying goes? No? Dang it. Well, I’m back with another installment of what appears to be a series, but who knows. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
What inside you connects with soccer?
I watched baseball as a kid because it’s what my dad did and still does. I watched football as a kid because I’m named after Kyle Field. I never felt like being a baseball or football fan required anything of me that felt like throwing myself off a cliff. Yes, that’s dramatic; I’m a dramatic person. It was easy to be a casual fan of other sports for me, but I can’t do that with soccer.
In the beginning, I made soccer part of my life because I dated a guy who was (is) obsessed with it. As you probably know, my #rapidsstory (let’s make that a thing, please) begins and ends with my husband, because he’s the one who made me aware that soccer even existed outside my high school JV2 team. I etched out minutes of my day to watch it on TV so I could talk to him about it. The more I did that, the more willing I was to carve hours out of my day to read about it online so I could understand it. Then I read some books. Then I bought some tickets.
At some point, it stopped being about impressing a guy and started being about fulfilling a need. A need in my person, in my soul, in my heart. But for what, exactly?
At some point, I hit a dividing line between doing soccer for someone else and doing soccer for me. I can’t pinpoint it, but I can tell you that looking back, it started a lot earlier than I might have admitted then. Even reading my tweets from watching my first ever Rapids game, I definitely had glimpses of fascination. Since then, it’s been nowhere but up. I own two scarves, a highlighter yellow Matt Pickens jersey (if you ever see anyone in Section 108 wearing one, it’s me, I promise), and I spend too much time before games at Altitude Authentics.
Of course, love isn’t just about merch, but that was the gateway drug. We have had a tradition of going to the first home game every season since I started paying attention to soccer (last year we had to do the second home game, because the first was postponed and we couldn't make it). We've spent more money this past year on tickets than I think I've ever spent on baseball tickets in my life. I freaking sang along with every single song at the game last Saturday, including my new favorite, which goes like this:
Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor… Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor, Drew Moor.
That’s sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace," by the way. I chanted, too. Soccer fulfills my innate need for community, for family.
If your version of soccer means that you show up to games sometimes and cheer when you feel like it and that’s how you roll, okay. But I don’t think you’re getting everything out of it that it can give you. I used to be that person; partially because I was scared, partially because I didn’t know how to begin, how to jump into the water. Give in. Sing along. Sway with the crowd. Raise your scarf, because apparently they aren’t supposed to go around your neck. Scream. Let go and join the living, breathing organism that is soccer. Love it and it will love you back.
There’s a lot to be said for being a casual fan. You get a lot less emotionally invested, which can definitely be a good thing if your team sucks. You probably spend a lot less money. It’s definitely a smaller time investment. But there’s a lot to be said for the opposite side, as well.
I am often told that I don’t know how to half-ass anything, and I think that comes out pretty clearly in my soccer fanhood. I find that the more attention I give the sport, the more I need to give it still. It’s very much a positive feedback cycle. When I sang my first squeaky, quiet bars of "Glory, Glory Colorado," it didn’t take me long to jump in and belt out the rest of the song, because the rest of the choir lifted me up. To me, soccer is family, and why would I want to miss out on family?
But I want to know what you get from soccer. I already know how you got here (from last post), now I want to know why you stuck around. What does soccer mean to you? Tell me in the comments. Tweet it at me. Throw me a paper airplane. I don't care how, I just want you to let me know.